MP3s aren't that bad. A well encoded
MP3 will be almost or completely indistinguishable from the original outside of long term blind listening tests(for me, at least).
Secondly, you can hook up any MP3 player with a line out jack or RCA jacks(my old Rio Karma had that) to an amp with RCA inputs, so I don't know why this is marketed at iPods. You can get a better deal with some other digital audio players also. The Karma plays stuff gaplessly, in addition to FLAC which is lossless - stuff you'd probably want that many others do not have if you own a hi-fi.
As to the tube amps.. I think it depends on the tube as to which you'd prefer. It's been proven scientifically and in blind(and unblind) listening tests that most tubes sound different than neutral solid state amps due to harmonic distortion/odd damping factor/odd frequency response. However, it's not distortion as in hissing or crackling. It's like an equalizer to the music with many DSP modes set randomly, with each tube amp having different random settings, so each will sound different. While with solid state amps, I think many can agree wheather one amp is good or bad, since tubes all have different sounds from each other you'd really have to hear for yourself to get your own opinion on which color you prefer. My theory on why many audiophiles prefer tube amps is that, after a while with very good systems, there's little left to upgrade and they may be bored with the sound of their system. If they can't upgrade, they'll sidegrade: a change, not an improvement, so you'll have something different. Nothing bad, you may just prefer that kind of color, but keep in mind it's not neutral.
I would go for the ubergizmo just because of the advertizing on the concertino.
In reply to:
nce you get used to the richness of tone of a tube amplifier, you will disdain the synthetic, cool sound of a transistor for the rest of your life.
Just take our tubes over the evil, factory mass produced, mean transistors. They're serial killers with hearts of coal. I love how the lamer of the tube amp advertizements make a HK or NAD sound like Mr. Freeze after his accident.